In keeping with the time and locale of An Instance of the Fingerpost, our June Book Club pick, note these great Web sites, including one with a timeline describing food and beverages over time:
The Food Timeline
"Ever wonder what the Vikings ate when they set off to explore the new world? How Thomas Jefferson made his ice cream? What the pioneers cooked along the Oregon Trail? Who invented the potato chip...and why? Food is the fun part of social studies! The tricky part is finding recipes you can make in a modern kitchen, with ingredients bought at your local supermarket and bring into school to share with your class. This page is for you! We are also stocking up on teacher and parent food resources. Looking for social customs, manners & menus? Try the Culinary History Timeline. Bon appetit. "
Coffee in Europe
Coffee was hardly known in Europe before the seventeenth century. European travellers, who visited Middle Eastern countries at this time, probably visited the coffee houses, where business would be transacted, or saw street coffee pedlars carrying coffee for sale in copper pots.
When these travellers returned, their reports about coffee aroused European interest in coffee. Perhaps these travellers brought back small samples of coffee beans, but the Venetians were the first people to bring larger quantities of coffee into Europe. In 1615, Venice received Europes' first shipment of green coffee beans and the first coffee house there, Caffè Florian, opened in 1683.
Coffee was known in the first half of the 17th Century in Venice and Marseille but there was no trade in beans there. Although famous for their tea drinking, the British were the first European nation to embrace the pleasures of coffee drinking on a commercial basis. The first coffeehouse was in Oxford in 1650 where it was opened by a Turkish Jew named Jacob. More opened soon after in London in 1652 where there were soon to be hundreds - each serving their own customers.
ENGLAND: Great Britain was the last of the three great sea-faring nations to break into the Chinese and East Indian trade routes. This was
due in part to the unsteady ascension to the throne of the Stuarts and the Cromwellian Civil War. The first samples of tea reached England between 1652 and 1654. Tea quickly proved popular enough to replace Ale as the national drink of England. As in Holland, it was the nobility that provided the necessary stamp of approval and so insured its acceptance. King Charles II had married, while in exile, the Portuguese Infanta Catherine de Braganza (1662). Charles himself had grown up in the Dutch capital. As a result, both he and his Portuguese bride were confirmed tea drinkers. When the monarchy was re-established, the two rulers brought this foreign tea tradition to England with them. As early as 1600, Elizabeth I had founded The John Company for the purpose of promoting Asian trade. When Catherine de Braganza married Charles, she brought as part of her dowry the territories of Tangier and Bombay. Suddenly, the John Company had a base of operations. The John Company was granted the unbelievably wide monopoly of all trade east of the Cape of Good Hope and west of Cape Horn...